You don’t have to have endured a long-distance relationship to appreciate Like Crazy but if you have, you’ll have no trouble identifying with the yearning, the worrying and the loneliness that consumes Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones), a couple separated — in a bitterly ironic twist of fate — by their desire to stay together.
Typically, many affairs that start on campus burn out by graduation day. “Crazy” is concerned with what happens when a romance continues beyond what should have been its expiration date.
Shot on digital video and crisply edited, the drama focuses on the emotional evolution of two people trying to maintain their feelings for each other as outside forces try to break that bond. While the no-nonsense screenplay by Ben York Jones and director Drake Doremus doesn’t exactly reinvent screen romance as we know it, it does hit on a number of solid points about the nature of passion. By any standards, it’s far more thought-provoking and potent than “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One.”
It doesn’t take much more than a couple of shy smiles and a note on a car windshield to bring together Anna, a journalism student from Britain, and Jacob, a classmate with a passion for furniture design. Doremus puts his faith in Jones and Yelchin to demonstrate how quickly affection can grow. The stars (who improvised much of their own dialogue) don’t let him down.
The lavender-voiced Jones is particularly wonderful as she illustrates how Anna’s intelligence and ambition are sometimes undercut by her impulsiveness. Faced with the painful prospect of enduring a few weeks away from Jacob, she makes the bold decision not to go home to London after her student visa expires. She’s a woman in love, which she mistakenly believes gives her permission to write her own rules.
“We can stay in bed all summer!” she bubbles to Jacob — and, in one of the film’s most charming sequences, a rapid-fire montage shows them doing exactly that.
What Anna and Jacob don’t yet know is that connections and commitments that seem completely logical and natural when you’re in college can be devilishly tricky to maintain in post-graduate life, as new jobs and new friends slip into the picture. Jacob gives Anna a silver bracelet inscribed with the word “patience.” At the time, neither of them realizes how much of that they are going to need.
While instant-messaging and Skype may make separation a bit less grueling (and they’re certainly more immediate and less expensive than sending letters or making overseas phone calls, as earlier generations had to do), they aren’t particularly terrific substitutes for hugs and kisses.
The sturdy supporting cast includes Jennifer Lawrence as Jacob’s co-worker, who would like to be more than merely a gal pal; Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead as Anna’s understanding parents; and Charlie Bewley as the London lad determined to prove he’s Anna’s Mr. Right.
“Like Crazy” ends with a powerful moment of intimacy that can be read at least a couple of different ways. Doremus firmly believes if someone is truly special to you, out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind. Still, the movie asks, at what point should you stop following your heart and start listening to reason?